Service cuts loom for Lancaster City Council

Morecambe Town Hall.
Morecambe Town Hall.
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Lancaster City Council is moving ‘closer to the cliff edge’ and will have to slash public services over the next three years to balance its books.

The council has to find £3.5m savings over the next two years after the Government cut its funding by 15.3%, on top of a 27% cut since 2010.

Budget talks will be held at a meeting of Lancaster City Council cabinet on October 8.

Projected figures show the council’s goverment funding could drop from 13.3m in 2013/14 to £11.7m in 2014/15 then £9.9m in 2015/16.

In order to balance the books, the council will have to save £1.2m in 2014/15 and £2.3m in 2015/16.

A council spokesman said £1m of this could be saved by “restructuring, streamlining and ‘cutting corners’” while the other £2.5m could “only be made

through withdrawing or significantly reducing services”.

Coun Eileen Blamire, leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “As these new figures show the council is closer to the cliff edge than ever before in terms of its budget.

“Although the economy is starting to pick up, the Government seems determined to reduce our funding even further and that can only translate into real cuts to our services.

“It is inevitable that we will have to make service cuts to balance our books.

“Many of the decisions will be tough and unpalatable to many but they will have to be made.”

Services run by Lancaster City Council include bin collecting, street cleaning, tending of flower beds, pest control, dog wardens, some local cemeteries, food hygiene inspections, town planning, and operating Morecambe and Lancaster visitor information centres, Salt Ayre Sports Centre, the Platform, Happy Mount Park, Ryelands Park, Williamson Park, the Festival Market, and Carnforth, Hornby and Heysham swimming pools. The council employs around 800 staff.

The final figures for how much the council will receive in funding from the Government will be announced in the Local Government Finance Settlement, which is due in November/December.

The city council will set its final budget for 2014/15 on Wednesday, February 26 2014